Symposium focuses on students' teaching innovations

On May 16, the fifth annual Classroom Research and Teaching Symposium brought together graduate students and faculty who are interested in applying their research skills to develop more effective teaching practices.

In addition to poster presentations by graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, the full-day symposium included workshops with local and visiting experts in the field of evidence-based teaching and learning.

Established by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and co-sponsored by Cornell’s Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CU-CIRTL), the event focuses on innovations in teaching practice. Presenters included eight Graduate Research and Teaching fellows, who participated in year-long research projects on effective teaching, and 17 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning practitioners, who participated in an accelerated program to design and conduct pilot “Teaching as Research” projects.

This year’s projects and presenters included:

  • Fear and Loathing in the Classroom: The Effects of Student Attitudes on Learning – Kristen Brochu, doctoral student in the field of entomology.
  • Digital Environments in the Education of Humanities: The Benefits of an Organically Evolving Syllabus – Georgia Andreou, classics postdoctoral associate.
  • Engaged Biomedical Engineering: A New Paradigm for Engineering Education – Peter DelNero, doctoral student in the field of biomedical engineering
  • Trust, Power and Transformation in the Prison Classroom – Frances Fairbairn, doctoral student in the field of philosophy.
  • “I didn’t know GMO’s cause cancer!”: Investigating Student Engagement with Course Content and Peers in Online Chat – Allison Truhlar, doctoral student in the field of biological and environmental engineering.

There were also 16 graduate teaching assistant fellows who discussed workshops they designed and led as part of CTE’s GET SET series, and three teaching as research fellows from the University of Rochester who presented the results of research projects on teaching.

“I was so impressed with the high quality of the fellows’ research projects,” said Kimberly Williams, CTE teaching support specialist who worked closely with Cornell’s Graduate Research and Teaching fellows and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning practitioners over the course of the semester. “These works showcase their ability to apply their skills as researchers to inform and improve their pedagogy with the ultimate goal of improving teaching and learning.”

Williams added the posters will be available online through the CTE website and manuscripts of these papers will be published in a working paper series she edits.

The deadline to apply for next year’s GRTF program is June 10. Students and postdocs can apply to the fall 2016 Scholarship of Teaching and Learning program later this summer.

Sally Kral is a communications assistant in the Graduate School.

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Melissa Osgood